Men prefer slim women

Fat people have more sex partners

When choosing a partner, a few more pounds won't hurt - on the contrary. Overweight and even obese women and men have even more sexual experiences than those who are severely underweight, a study of more than 60,000 participants reveals. It also shows that most people have had an average of eight sexual partners since puberty and that size is less of a factor than previously thought: tall men did not have more partners than smaller ones in the course of their lives.

The search for a partner is one of the basic needs of both animals and us humans. But what makes us attractive to potential partners? And who has how many partners in the course of their life? “Choosing a partner is a two-pronged process,” explain David Frederick and Brooke Jenkins from Chapman University in California. "Who a person enters into a partnership with depends on their personal preferences, but also on the preferences that a potential partner has."

Who has more chances in the “market”?

According to popular opinion, young men in particular are more promiscuous and not necessarily averse to short affairs. The more attractive, the more sexual experience they gain - so the assumption. Women are supposedly more on the lookout for the "man for life". But whether and how this affects the number of their partners is far less clear: “Very attractive women can be more selective and therefore find a good long-term partner more easily,” explain the researchers. "On the other hand, they also receive more offers and could therefore have more partners."

Who has more sexual experiences?

So far it seems clear at least that tall and, preferably, rich men have better chances in the partner market, as do slim, good-looking women. In addition, humor and a certain playfulness seem to be at the fore in popularity - for both genders. But what is it about these clichés?

Frederick and Jenkins wanted to know more about at least two basic body characteristics. For their study, they examined more than 60,000 heterosexual women and men to determine whether and how height and weight influence the choice of partner. They asked the participants, who were on average 37 years old, how many sexual partners they had had since puberty.

A few pounds too much doesn't hurt when choosing a partner - on the contrary. © Shironosov / thinkstock

Men and women have a similar number of sex partners

The first surprising result: women and men hardly differ in the number of their sexual partners: On average, both sexes have eight different sexual partners behind them by their late thirties. Around 29 percent of men and 23 percent of women with 14 or more partners belong to the more promiscuous people, as the researchers found.

As the researchers emphasize, the number of sexual partners does not say anything about how successful someone is in finding a partner. Because many partners can point to a consciously promiscuous lifestyle as well as to relationships that have failed again and again.

Fat is better than thin

It is also surprising who gets hits more often when looking for a partner and who doesn't. Contrary to popular belief, obesity is evidently by no means a disadvantage - on the contrary. Because men with a few pounds more on their ribs usually had more sexual experiences in the study than their less weighty peers. They also cheated on more often, as it turned out. Only when they were very obese did the number of their partners drop significantly, similar to that of men who were underweight.

The results were even more interesting for women: because a slim model figure is apparently less popular than is commonly expected. Accordingly, women who are significantly underweight have significantly fewer sexual experiences than women of normal weight and overweight. Instead, voluptuous and even obese women with a BMI over 30 seem to be quite successful in the partner market: They already had eight to ten sexual partners on average, as it was shown.

According to the researchers, this could be due to the fact that many underweight women have problems with their body image and therefore behave less freely and openly. Alternatively, it would also be possible that very slim women are so successful that they do not have to search around for a long time to find the “right one”. Which variant is correct cannot be determined from the figures alone.

The size hardly matters

And when it comes to height, the popular opinion is apparently not entirely correct: “Research has repeatedly shown that women prefer men who are taller than they are,” says Frederick. But there was no trace of that in their study. Tall men did not have more or fewer sexual partners than medium or short men. Only very short men were left empty-handed, above average.

“It's hard to explain,” says Frederick. “There may be a certain size threshold for many women after which they see a man as a potential sexual partner.” Once a man is above this threshold, every additional centimeter may no longer play a major role. Conversely, the size of a woman apparently plays an even smaller role - here the researchers found no differences at all, apart from those of very short stature. (Evolutionary Psychology, 2015; doi: 10.1177 / 1474704915604563)

(Chapman University, 09/30/2015 - NPO)

September 30, 2015